Being Defensive

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Psycho-dimensional infographic for navigating the psychotherapeutic conception of the individual self and its defences.

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  • Emily

    As a psychologist-in-training, I’d like to suggest a different title than “How psychotherapy sees you” for this otherwise lovely infographic. The practitioners and theorists whose work is represented here are part of the “psychodynamic” (an updated term for “psychoanalytic”) approach to therapy. Though the popular idea of therapy still mostly consists of psychodynamic tropes (such as lying on a couch and exploring one’s childhood), the practice has generally fallen from favor among today’s therapists. Modern psychotherapy consists of a huge variety of ideas about people, approaches, and techniques (, so the term isn’t appropriate for this infographic. However, “psychoanalysis” is still a protected term that exclusively refers to the type of therapy based on the ideas in the infographic. Thus, a better title for this infographic would be “How psychoanalysis sees you” or “How psychodynamic theory sees you.” With a more accurate title, you may get more business for the printable PDFs from therapists, especially psychodynamic practitioners!

    • david

      thanks for the suggestion and detail Emily – I’ll have a think about it

      • Samuel

        I agree with Emily, this is perhaps how a psychoanalyst sees people, not how a psychotherapist sees people. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the current mainstream. Psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapy is poorly researched and poorly supported by research because it doesn’t lend itself well to being researched. To be perfectly blunt, it’s largely non-scientific and thus has rightly fallen out of favor.

  • Dennis

    Very interesting Infographic. However I have problems reading it and I can’t seem to find an explanation. is one supposed to start in the middle, e.g. “I felt alone”, then move outwards e.g. “I acted out, was agressive” and since I’m in the blue zone, I need to move to e.g. scapegoat or tyrant only to find out that I would be evaluated as being a narcissistic character? Did I do this correctly?

    • Rik

      Same problem here. It’s pretty but it’s not clear how to ‘use’ it, if that’s even appropriate.

  • Marek

    I like most of your visualisations, but this one is off the charts for depth and being thought-provoking. I love it and will be pondering it for many an hour!

  • Josh

    I second Dennis’ comment. I would appreciate a quick “how to” guide on this graphic so I can evaluate my self.

  • Josh

    I second Dennis’ comment.

  • Pasabaporaqui

    As a psychologist and admirer of your work, I was surprised (and, to be honest, a little disappointed) by this visualization.
    What happened to your “snake-oil-approach” to pseudoscientific claims? Psychoanalysis is considered pseudoscience in the academia in general, their theories and concepts lack logical and scientific rigor and their therapies have not proved to be effective according to scientific standards.
    You can find tons of scientific evidence about the efficacy of psychotherapies, with control groups (placebo, no treatment, psychodrugs, different psychological treatments, etc.) In general, behavioral and cognitive-behavioral treatments are the only effective psychological therapies for different psychological problems, according to these studies. Almost no psychoanalytic therapy appears. Try to search for “evidence-based psychotherapy” in Google Academic.
    It would be awesome if you extended the “snake-oil approach” to psychotherapy. Many people would be surprised.